This won’t drive you to tears

The only tears that should be shed on an onion breed­ing sta­tion should be when the pro­duce is be­ing tested in the kitchen.

NZ Grower - - Election 2017 -

That’s why, as part of Sem­i­nis’s on­go­ing com­mit­ment to en­sure the Pukekohe Onion Breed­ing Sta­tion is al­ways a safe place to work, the team com­pleted a Trac­tor Safety Oper­a­tion train­ing course 13 – 14 July. Ver­ti­cal Hori­zonz im­ple­mented the train­ing, cov­er­ing key skill ar­eas such as im­ple­ment at­tach­ment, power take-off, main­te­nance and driv­ing. “The course is de­signed to train new and ex­pe­ri­enced trac­tor op­er­a­tors in how to keep safe when us­ing some of the most dan­ger­ous equip­ment on the farm” says train­ing provider Rus­sel McManus, “trac­tors are heavy pieces of equip­ment and can be much more dif­fi­cult to op­er­ate than or­di­nary ve­hi­cles.”

The course was at­tended by five Sem­i­nis staff from the breed­ing sta­tion’s Re­search and Tech­nol­ogy De­vel­op­ment teams as well as three grow­ers and young em­ploy­ees from Chap­man Onion Ex­ports and Suther­land Pro­duce Ltd. An­thony Ju­lian, Sta­tion Man­ager was keen to in­volve peo­ple from the wider onion grow­ing com­mu­nity to build their ca­pac­ity as part of this safety ini­tia­tive. An­thony said, “ev­ery year in New Zealand we see mem­bers of our com­mu­nity ei­ther killed or in­jured in trac­tor ac­ci­dents. Peo­ple can some­times for­get that trac­tors are se­ri­ous ma­chines and driv­ers need to be trained to us them safely.”

Un­der new leg­is­la­tion, em­ploy­ers now have a re­spon­si­bil­ity in New Zealand to pro­tect their staff by pro­vid­ing pro­fes­sional train­ing for ma­chin­ery use. Par­tic­i­pants from Chap­man Onion Ex­ports and Suther­land Pro­duce Ltd re­ceived New Zealand Qual­i­fi­ca­tions Author­ity cer­ti­fi­ca­tion in Trac­tor Op­er­a­tions Unit Stan­dards 19044 and 24552. Tekarawa Tau­man from Chap­man Onion Ex­ports Ltd thor­oughly en­joyed the course find­ing it “very use­ful in re­mind­ing me that a ma­chine that I op­er­ate al­most ev­ery day needs to be treated with re­spect.” Course par­tic­i­pants are look­ing for­ward to de­mon­strat­ing their new-found skills. Mem­bers of the public are in­vited to the Sem­i­nis Pukekohe Onion In­no­va­tion Day which will be held at the breed­ing sta­tion on Jan­uary 24th, 2018. The onion breed­ing sta­tion is lo­cated at 704 Har­risville Road, Pukekohe.

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